Sunday, December 1, 2013

Free WiFi: What’s the Ground Reality

The number of WiFi connected devices has exceeded the world population count and it is expected that by 2016, one in four mobile users will have at least two connected devices each. Industries like airlines, hotels and restaurants now perceive this growth to be one of the best ways to attract more consumers. From airports to metro stations, and coffee shops to shopping mall, public WiFi is now available everywhere. Businesses offer this convenience to make the customer feel that they are getting an added benefit with the service taken. However, this convenience also encompasses greater risk; it is now easier than ever before for the hackers and online fraudsters to get access to other’s personal information through these unsecured networks.

There are several ways through which hackers can peep into your personal information and hack your important accounts without you knowing about the same. Some of such instances are as follows:

Packet sniffing is a utility that allows individuals to capture data as it is transmitted over a network. Packet sniffer programs were originally developed for network professionals to diagnose network issues. However, now the tool has become a potent instrument for hackers to capture encrypted data such as usernames and passwords in network traffic. Through sniffing, malicious users capture password and username details to gain access to the system and network. You might felt victim to sniffing if you are using a free WiFi at an airport, coffee shop or somewhere else.

People using wireless public networks are most vulnerable to sidejacking. It is the process of stealing someone’s access to a website. The fraudsters use a packet sniffer to hidejack access to a website; in this the hacker obtains an encrypted cookie with the help of packet sniffer that grants access to a specific website, such as webmail. As the session cookie already providers access to the website content, the bad actor can easily impersonate the user. However, in this process the bad actor is not allowed to access the user’s password and once the session is logged off, the bad actor loses the access. This is most commonly seen in social media sites; the bad actor can easily do changes in your social media profile or change your status without knowing your password; they do this by hijacking your browsing session.

Honeypot is a knave WiFi network that appears to be a legitimate one. As soon as a user unknowingly joins a knave network, the hacker launches a man-in-the-middle attack and intercepts all the data between the user and the network.

Hacking and data theft is most common in places where several people use one single network connection. While Hotel WiFi is a great way to catch guest attention, it sometime impacts your business negatively as guests feel unsafe while surfing on a common network. WiFi hotspot is a great way to deal with this security issue. These small pocket-size devices are easy to carry and ensure best online security to your hotel guests. Users can use these devices personally without require to share the connection with anyone else. That means no one would have access to their devices without their permission.


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